In early May, Instagram changed its algorithm and seems to want to draw more inspiration from the methods of its main competitor TikTok. The transition from photography to video, which is why great photographers who use the social network grumble.
“They caught me! », annoyed photojournalist Boris Allin. The object of his anger? “Stupid” algorithm change on Instagram. In early May, the social network underwent a makeover, giving priority to vertical images and original content on its platform. An evolution that gives more weight to unpublished “real”, in other words, videos, and no more images that still made up DNA pages … many to use it. Among the annoyed, therefore, is Boris Allin, alias odieuxboby, 31, Leica Ambassador of 61,000 subscribers on the social network. “Last year, my photos had between 5,000 and 10,000 likes. Today I have 20,000 more subscribers, but in just two weeks my audience has dropped to a maximum of 2,000 likes, when I never went below. »
The observation is shared by many social network users, such as Moroccan street photographer Yassine Alaoui Ismaili, 31, alias yoriyas, 44,900 subscribers, who long ago opted for a video that combines photography with frozen footage in his films. With, in each post, “good stats: about 20,000 spectators”, he commented. For him, this turning of the video is not surprising. “For Instagram, the “real” ones have only advantages because they are videos that you can scroll through randomly, endlessly, which keeps Internet users captive. So I see more and more photographers taking real shots, because there’s something instant about video thanks to today’s phones. They also get a lot more reviews and bring new people to your account. »
10,000 subscribers in two months
The same thought comes from war photographer Eric Bouvet, who innovated what he calls “sonoramas” during his coverage of the Ukrainian conflict: “My voice comments on projections of photos, of a more direct, intimate format, which made me from 35,000 to 45,000 subscribers in two months,” congratulations to yourself. In his sixties, he – after working for the press for forty years – completely changed his business model: “I address my community directly, without going through the traditional media. So, they are the ones who buy me prints, who come to my workshops… ” But if it now directly depends on social networks, he hardly paid attention to the change in the algorithm. “Our profession has always gone beyond the eye, because we have to tirelessly find new ways to deal with other topics. So that doesn’t change much for me. Above all, I have the impression that I see many more commercials. » Observation shared by Boris Allin: “I have the impression that the algorithms have tightened the screw to make people consume sponsorship: now, as soon as I post a photo, I get a notice offering me ten euros to step it up. No doubt they are trying to make Instagram more profitable… ”
“I may return to that, but in the meantime I’d rather take a break.”
Algorithm change or not, Spanish photographer Cristina de Middel (47), represented by the prestigious Magnum agency, 67,800 subscribers, has just deleted the app from her phone. “Instagram used to be photography. Today they have become people who dance, she regrets. It was a distraction for me, more than a professional tool. I may return to that, but in the meantime I prefer to take a break. » Especially since the evolution of the platform has failed to change one thing: hate comments beneath its images. “It’s hard to be a woman on a social network. If posting pictures leads to a connection between the quality of my work and my weight, I don’t have the energy to expose myself to it, I prefer to paint! »